A REMARKABLE story of friendship in the Second World War has helped forge a special relationship between a Warrington primary school and the Irish Guards.

Chris Bent made everything possible in 2017, as he sifted through his dad's wartime memories and found a poignant connection to Oakwood Avenue Primary School.

His dad, John Bent, fought in the Second World War with comrade Harry Kenwright, who attended the Padgate-based school in 1928.

The story of the two men starts when 19-year-old John and 25-year-old Harry joined forces in the armoured division of the 2nd Battalion of the Irish Guards.

Harry was killed in April 1945 after being hit by a shell and it was up to John to bury him in a nearby field before continuing his journey through Germany.

John survived the war to tell his and Harry's story to present-day Oakwood Avenue pupils, set up by Chris.

Warrington Guardian:

Gary Cunningham, executive head teacher at the school, said he was fascinated when he first heard the story, and it is now embedded into the school's curriculum.

"We have ownership of Harry and John and all of the Oakwood fallen - they are ours now," he said.

"We feel, especially with Harry and John, that we know them, they aren't just names on a board, they are people."

As well as connecting the school with memories of their former pupil, Chris contacted the Irish Guards.

This marked the beginning of the regiment's relationship with the school, with representatives joining pupils in a memorial service for Harry in November 2017.

Fran Sixsmith, from Medley Music, helped the pupils create their own version of 'In the Arms of an Angel' to sing.

John also attended and laid a wreath by the name of his old friend.

He died in April 2018, aged 92, and Oakwood Avenue pupils sang again at his funeral, while the Irish Guards sent a piper.

Warrington Guardian:

Oakwood Avenue's friendship with the Irish Guards continued to developed and over the past three years it has involved a trip to the Guards' base at Wellington Barracks, welcoming soldiers to the school and viewing a tribute plaque to Harry and John in the Guards' Chapel.

Chris has also kept a strong link to the school, with Remembrance Day services and even live streaming his trip to Harry's grave as the children watched on in awe.

"It's such a special story, the Harry and John story, and it's been fantastic to be involved in everything that has been going on the past three years," Chris reflected.

"The school has been just mindblowing, just amazing.

"I've been so lucky to have met so many teachers and see them all in action.

"They are genuinely brilliant at what they do - they probably don't know how good they are and how lucky the children are.

Warrington Guardian:

"It's been inspirational for me to watch them and be a part of that, and I am honoured to be classed as part of the Oakwood family.

"The Irish Guards have been incredible too - they have really bought in to all of this and I think their connection with the school is something incredibly moving and touching.

"Music is a really key thing in inspiring the children and Fran has provided that inspiration in abundance."

In a heartwarming message to his dad, Chris added: "The school and the Irish Guards have done you and Harry so proud and I'd like to think after all these years, since that fateful day in 1945, that maybe you're together again.

"Maybe you did really meet again."

Chris has created a video about his three-year journey with the school entitled 'Oakwood Ave’s Irish Guards Adventure'.

It can be viewed at youtube.com/watch?v=HCEzC7GgGto&t=3s.